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CNN Student News Learning Activity: Understanding Hurricanes

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  • Students will learn about the causes and components of hurricanes
  • Students will examine the factors that affect hurricane intensity
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(CNN Student News) -- Students will learn about the causes and components of hurricanes and examine the factors that affect their intensity.


Send student groups on a multimedia scavenger hunt to learn about hurricanes. Pose the following questions to guide students' research:

  • What regions of the world are most susceptible to hurricanes?
  • When is the Atlantic hurricane season?
  • How does a hurricane develop?
  • What are the different classifications of hurricanes?
  • What are the differences between a tropical depression, a tropical storm and a hurricane?
  • What is the most violent part of the hurricane?
  • What factors "feed" a hurricane and make it stronger?
  • What factors tend to make a hurricane lose intensity and fall apart?
  • Why are some hurricanes more dangerous than others?
  • How can individuals prepare for a hurricane?
  • After groups share their information, have each group create a poster to educate their peers about hurricanes. Display the posters in your school library.

    Extension: If your students live in an area that is susceptible to hurricanes, have them conduct further research by interviewing family members and emergency personnel in your community to find out more about how hurricanes have impacted your community in the past and how people have coped with these natural disasters. Students can then include this information in their hurricane awareness posters.

    Correlated Standards

    National Science Standards

    Grades 5-8

    Standard F: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

    As a result of activities in grades 5-8 all students should develop an understanding of:

    Natural hazards: Internal and external processes of the Earth system cause natural hazards, events that change or destroy human and wildlife habitats, damage property, and harm and kill humans.

    Natural hazards can present personal and societal challenges because misidentifying the change or incorrectly estimating the rate and scale of change may result in either too little attention and significant human costs or too much cost for unneeded preventive measures.

    The National Science Education Standards ( are published by the National Academies Press (

    Places and Regions

    Standard 7: Knows the physical processes that shape patterns on Earth's surface

    Level III Grade : 6-8

    Benchmark 3. Knows the consequences of a specific physical process operating on Earth's surface (e.g., effects of an extreme weather phenomenon such as a hurricane's impact on a coastal ecosystem, effects of heavy rainfall on hill slopes, effects of the continued movement of Earth's tectonic plates)

    McREL: Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education (Copyright 2000 McREL) is published online by Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) (, 2550 S. Parker Road, Suite 500, Aurora, CO 80014.


    Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, geography, climate, natural disaster, Hurricane Felix E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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